American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Review
The American Express Surpass is Hilton’s mid-tier card. The Surpass card has a rewarding earning structure and comes with a lot of nice perks.
Current Welcome Bonus vs The Historical High
The current welcome offer is the best we have ever seen when considering overall value.
The welcome bonus is as follows:
Earn 130,000 Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Surpass® Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Note that American Express has a “one bonus per product per lifetime” policy and you are only eligible for this bonus if you have not had this card before.
Hilton Honors Surpass Earning Structure
The American Express Hilton Honors Surpass earns points in the following ways:
- Earn 12X Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
- Earn 6X Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
- Earn 3X Hilton Honors bonus points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
From our research, Hilton points are worth an average of 1/2¢ each.
Hilton Honors Surpass Card Member Perks
The American Express Hilton Surpass has a couple of very valuable perks of card membership:
- As an American Express Surpass card member, you’ll receive Hilton Honors Gold status automatically and can upgrade yourself to Diamond status with $40,000 in spend during the calendar year.
- This card is eligible for Amex Offers.
The American Express Surpass fees are as follows:
- $95 annual fee is not waived.
- No foreign transaction fees.
Welcome Bonus Value – $900 ($805 net)
Hilton points are valued at 0.5¢ a piece. That would put the value of 130,000 Hilton Honors points at $650. The free night award is worth anywhere from $100-$1000; we will give it a fair value of about $250. This makes your gross value $900, and your overall value is $805 after paying the $95 annual fee.
While Hilton Honors has gone partially revenue based, there is still some outsized value in their lower category properties, especially in the developing world. Additionally, the free night can provide exceptional value if used at flagship properties like the Conrad Tokyo, Conrad Hong Kong, Grand Wailea Maui (below), etc.
The American Express Surpass comes with a great earning structure and instant Hilton Honors Gold status (which rivals most other hotel program’s top status). It is possible to quickly amass Hilton points by taking advantage of the 6X earning categories or via paid stays. The Amex Surpass is also a part of the Amex Offers program, which can help offset, if not cover, the annual fee.
On the downside, not waiving the first year annual fee hurts. However, that is becoming more common these days as banks want to see the customer “invested” in their cards. That being said, you can likely offset this with your Hilton perks, such as free breakfast.
If you’re looking to move up to Diamond status with Hilton, there’s a much cheaper path than spending $40,000 on your Hilton Surpass card. Instead, you can simply hold the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and get Hilton’s Diamond status as an automatic perk with the card.
If you stay at Hilton Hotels a few nights a year, then this is a long-term keeper. Free breakfast obtained via Gold status and valuable Amex offers more than offset the annual fee. It is a mid-tier product in the Hilton card family but provides good return on spending at restaurants, supermarkets, and of course at Hilton hotels.
If the annual fee is a sticking point or you do not see value in gold status for the long term, then a downgrade to the no annual fee Amex Hilton card may be a better option. You will save on the annual fee, but it does come with slightly lower earning rates and less perks for your card membership.
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is a compelling card that currently has a best-ever welcome bonus. Valuable 6x categories make it a possible mainstay in your wallet and an easy way to rack up large amounts of Hilton points. American Express giving Hilton Gold status with cardmembership and valuable Amex offers are just icing on the cake.